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New federal law could spur shredding

Updated:
A new law takes effect Wednesday that requires people to be more diligent about destroying your personal information.

It applies to banks, landlords, employers, virtually anyone that obtains your records for business purposes. If they don't properly dispose of it, they could be fined or you could even sue them in court.

As News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us, the shredding business is expecting a big cut of the action.

When he first got started in the shredding business, Jack White says it was just a sliver of its current self. "28 years ago, there was very few, in fact 28 years ago, hardly any of the banks used shredders. Y'know, nobody thought about this identity-theft, people were more innocent I think." But lately, sales have been on a tear.

"In the last three years, sales of shredders have actually doubled." Staples store manager Larry Cornwell says that was even before this new law and HIPA, the medical privacy act. And the machines that produce the ribbons that you're used to seeing probably won't cut it anymore, not with the determination of today's identity thieves. "And they will actually go to the length of putting a strip cut back together to get information off of and they will do that."

Jack White: "Now watch, I'll shred this piece. You can piece it back together and still read the information, imagine if your social security number or address or something else was on that." A straight-cut shredder is brand new, but will probably never be sold; White says everyone is moving to the cross-cut shredder, if they haven't already. "There's no way you're going to put that back together."

Many newer machines can also chop up other records, even prescription bottles. "The larger machines are going to be able to handle CD's, floppy disks, credit cards, anything with information, you can put it in there, it shreds it up and you don't have to worry about it anymore."

The ironic thing says White, is that he used to hear computers would reduce the amount of paper. "There's actually more paper than there was in the past, and it's growing every year."
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